This Group Leader article was written by Nancy Simmonds who serves on staff at Northridge as a Community Group Coach, Counselor, and our Webster Kids Director. Nancy shares highlights from a counseling article on confrontation I think you'll find helpful as you care for your group members.
In a recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Counseling, J. Alasdair Groves shares why confronting someone about their sin is actually the most loving thing to do. He goes on to share some guidelines on when to confront and when not to, as well as how to confront lovingly for the good of the other person.
Here are some highlights from this article:
The Bible is clear that confronting can be a "vital element of love."
"Refusing to confront a fellow sinner stumbling toward destruction is not kindness, politeness, or being non-judgmental; it is selfishness. It places our desire to avoid discomfort ahead of the good of another person."
We have natural tendencies to lean either away from or toward confrontation:
Some of us are hesitant to confront but we often end up judging from a distance, gossiping, avoiding the person or just pretending the problem doesn't exist.
Some of us appear to thrive on confrontation, always ready to put others in their place. We can be full of harsh words, leave a string of broken relationships in our wake, and can be short on grace.
No matter what direction you lean, Alasdair shares some helpful insights on how to confront well.
When Should You Confront?
NOT every time. We are all sinners in need of a savior and we need to humbly remember that! At each opportunity we have a choice to let love cover the offense OR confront the offender.
When To Cover:
"The vast majority of our responses to sin ought to fall into the category of covering an offense." Covering means continuing in the relationship without making an issue of their sin.
When To Confront:
Confront when it is causing significant harm to the offender's relationship to you or others. However, you may want to ask these questions first:
How close is your relationship?
Who else is in their life that could speak into the issue?
How big of a problem is it?
How Should You Confront?
Here are 10 ways to confront (from least to most forceful):
The first step is to prepare your own heart, NOT think about what you want to say! Loving confrontation is always gentle and focused on the other's good.
Ask genuine questions that invite self-reflection, not judgmental leading questions.
Encourage them in what they are already doing about the problem.
Show compassion for other's temptations.
Exhort - urge them to pursue God-pleasing behaviors and attitudes.
Express concern - describe the behavior and your concern.
Warn - call attention to specific negative consequences of their behavior.
Plead - appealing to the relationship that the two of you have.
Rebuke - name the problem, call it wrong and insist it stop.
Pull back - change how you relate to the unrepentant person.
Ultimately, the aim in confrontation is help the other person repent - turning from their sinful ways to God's ways for God's glory and their good!
If you found this helpful and you want more details, you can download J. Alasdair Groves's article for $1.99 here: Nine Ways to Confront in Love, A Primer for the Timid.
Here are a few additional resources you may find helpful:
This breakout will give you tools and approaches that prepare for emotionally charged conversations. It will introduce strategies to transform anger and hurt feelings into powerful dialogue, making it safe to talk about almost anything, so you can be persuasive without being abrasive.
What do you do when someone in your group makes a bad relationship decision? Whether it is dating an unbeliever, living with their boyfriend, sleeping with their girlfriend, or dating while in the process of getting a divorce. This breakout will give you a Biblical framework for how to think about these issues and practical steps on how to carefully address them with the members of your group.
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